Last reviewed 15 September 2020
Following a successful legal challenge by a disabled child, funded by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), all grammar schools in England have been warned not to discriminate against disabled children during this year’s 11+ entry exams.
The child, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has a vision impairment and an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) specifying the adjustments he needs in school.
Despite this, he was unable to sit an entry exam to a Berkshire grammar school when the adjustments were not made.
The boy’s parents applied for him to take the 11+ entry exam for Reading School but accepted an offer for him to sit the exam at a different school, which was closer to home, but was also part of the Slough Consortium of Grammar Schools.
The day before the exam, the school said they could not make the adjustments that had been requested, including larger fonts on the exam paper, as they would cost in excess of £2000.
The case was referred to the EHRC by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).
The Commission provided funding for the case to be taken to the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability), which concluded that Reading Grammar was responsible for making sure adjustments were in place.
As a result of this case, grammar schools and consortiums must improve accessibility arrangements for entry exams which have been delayed due to coronavirus (Covid-19).
EHRC Chief Executive Rebecca Hilsenrath said: “Grammar school education needs to be available to all children and that means grammar schools making reasonable adjustments for entry exams in accordance with the law.”
The Commission has sent letters to all grammar schools and other selective schools, to remind them of their duty under the Equality Act 2010 not to discriminate against any disabled children.